Skip navigation

An Early Day Motion - No 249 - filed this Parliamentary session which supports the preservation of the proven Shared Living Community model at the Botton community for the learning disabled near Whitby has won support from over 35 MPs drawn from every UK political party.

The EDM calls for Camphill Village Trust (CVT) management to work with all authorities (CQC, NHS, Local Authorities, HMRC and the Charity Commission) specifically in order to retain and preserve the caring, safe and much valued Co-worker Shared-Life Community at Botton that residents and their families choose. It states that "This House notes that until recently, Botton Village, a Camphill Community of 60 years' standing, offered a shared way of life for learning-disabled adults alongside volunteer co-workers, living as equals, sharing home, work, culture and recreation;…. / and concludes /…. is concerned about reports from families of residents at Botton Village that the loss of the residents' chosen lifestyle, of their home and family life as they know it, and the removal of very dear friends, is causing distress to learning-disabled residents; and therefore urges CVT to work with the authorities to revert to a volunteer co-worker model at Botton Village‘.

MPs from all political parties across the UK* have now signed the EDM as they recognise the tremendous national value of the Camphill Shared Living Community model. The established benefits offered by the model include increased wellbeing (physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual) for all community residents (both learning disabled and able-bodied). It is also extremely cost-effective and affords a range of provable economic benefits to the wider society**.

Caroline Lucas MP, who initially proposed the same motion at the end of the last session of Parliament said: “The Camphill community model of social care, has offered a shared and sustainable way of life for learning-disabled adults alongside Vocational Co-workers, living as equals, sharing home, work, culture and recreation, for decades. I am very pleased to support them and it would be such a loss if this exemplary model community were to disappear”.

Whilst Alex Salmond MP, who was one of the signatories to the EDM, added: “The Camphill movement was founded in Scotland and is recognised widely as a national asset. I have personal experience of Camphill and have long supported its aims so am pleased to support this EDM”.

In addition to the above, the motion is also supported by regional MPs Roberta Blackman-Woods and Julian Sturdy as well as Catherine West, Norman Lamb, Tim Farron, Jonathan Edwards, Mark Durkan, Nigel Dodds, Douglas Carswell, Peter Bottomley, and independent MP Lady Sylvia Hermon amongst many others.

Dr Simon Duffy, of The Centre for Welfare Reform, commented: “There is significant evidence that shared living is a valuable model of support for some people. As long as people have the right to select the support that works for best them then shared living should not just be an option, it should be a highly valued option.”

Neil Davidson, the Chair of Action for Botton commented that “It might seem remarkable to many, that politicians from across the political spectrum support this motion. What is truly remarkable however is that for 60 years Botton has quietly practised the Camphill community way of life - the very sort of shared life care that has now been established as being cheaper but also safer than other systems".

Since the original proposal of this EDM, Claimants and the Charity have entered a process of legal mediation. The key part of the progress being made is the exploration of the Shared Lives Plus model as a way to retain shared living within Botton and the engagement by the parties of a specialist social care advisor Caroline Tomlinson to assist with this.

“In view of the synergy between the two models we are really optimistic that CVT have in their hands a proposal that will preserve the proven shared lives model which has been so successful for many years,” added Neil Davidson. “A successful and speedy outcome to the mediation is now well within our grasp which will certainly please the many MPs who supported the EDM.”

The news of universal political support comes hard on the heels of a new study being published by the Centre for Welfare Reform author Maria Lyons and medical evidence by Dr Marcus van Dam, a longstanding GP for the residents of Botton, who has presented data highlighting the health benefits of the community lifestyle at Botton and resulting cost-savings to the NHS.

Dr van Dam commented: “I am not surprised that there is substantial cross-party support for the world renowned Camphill Shared Lives model at Botton from those who really understand the issues. We have been able to show that also from a medical perspective Camphill is a superior model of supporting people with learning disability. We audited our learning disability health check data of 2010 (the last time the community was wholly VVC Shared-living) and found that only 15% were obese, which is about half the prevailing rate of the UK, with diabetes being very rare (1%). Similarly, mental illness and challenging behaviour have always been much less common in Botton (15%, vs 40% UK-wide) and psychotropic medication required less frequently (12%, vs 30% in the UK)”. He added: “I have seen a degree of contentment, happiness and stability that I believe is unparalleled for people with learning disabilities. I am convinced that their excellent health and wellbeing is a result of Botton’s way of life, where people live as friends with and without disabilities, have a stable network of relationships, meaningful jobs and roles, enjoy a healthy diet and plenty of physical activity.”

Notes to Editors

* As Sinn Fein boycott Westminster they are unable to sign the motion, furthermore due to ‘technical difficulties’ with the website at present not all the signatories are showing however we have confirmation from all parties.

The EDM itself, along with the latest signatories can be viewed on the following link

Baroness Hollins raised the matter of Botton in the House of Lords this spring her speech can be viewed on this link:

Research Studies and additional Information

** Studies show that the following benefits to wider society from Camphill communities

1) Sustainability
2) Economically
to the local economy
in terms of the cost of delivery
reduction in costs to the NHS
reduction in work benefits
3) Wellbeing for ALL community members

These benefits are illustrated by multiple reports particularly those seen on the following links

Dr van Dam’s presentation and letter to the British Medical Journal can be viewed along at

Shared Lives Plus research showing the method is safer and more cost effective

Maria Lyons recent report can be viewed here;
Re-Thinking Community Care: The Camphill Village Model

A literature round up by Dr Stuart Cumella, highlighting a range of benefits, entitled ‘’Intentional Communities Report”

The unintentional destruction of intentional communities

Cultivating thinking hearts

A range of further studies and materials can be viewed on the following link

Contact Information

Botton Buddies

Action for Botton
Neil Davidson – Chair

Kay Clark
Tel: 0845 833 8292

Richard Graham
Tel: 01765 640736

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Action for Botton in the following categories: Health, Environment & Nature, Public Sector, Third Sector & Legal, for more information visit